Rugby fans in Harborough have been left disappointed today (Friday) after the town’s bid to be a host base for one of the teams in the 2015 Rugby World Cup was rejected by the sport’s governing body.
Market Harborough Rugby Club was hoping its Northampton Road ground could be used by one of the competing nations as a base during next year’s rugby union world championship tournament, being held on home soil between September 18 and October 31.
The town was shortlisted as a potential host site last September and was then placed on an approved list in February after reaching all of governing body England Rugby’s selection criteria.
Team representatives visited the various grounds on the shortlist earlier this year.
The town’s joint bid, which would have included the use of the district council-owned leisure centre/swimming pool in Northampton Road, was submitted by the town’s rugby club and Harborough District Council.
A district council spokesman said today (Friday): “Whilst we are disappointed not to have been selected, those behind the bid have been praised by England Rugby for the warm welcome that was shown to their representatives and the visiting countries.”
Bases had to include indoor and outdoor training facilities, a gym, indoor swimming pool and hotel. The facilities had to meet international team-training standards and be located in close proximity to one another.
Match venue locations were also taken into account and England Rugby selected 57 bases for the shortlist.
However, the district still has one remaining hope for being a base, in the form of Leicester Grammar School in Great Glen.
The school has yet to hear from England Rugby about its application, leaving area rugby fans holding their breath and hoping that no news is good news.
Story by Alex Blackwell
Follow Alex on Twitter, @BlackwellHarb.